The Cross Creek Razorbacks of Augusta will make their first appearance at Liberty County High School’s Donell Woods Stadium for a football battle at 7:30 tonight.
The visiting team is looking to earn its first win after starting the season 0-2 with losses to Greenbrier, 23-6, and Westside, 31-29.
The Panthers would like to get their second home win in a row and improve their 2-1 record by holding on to the momentum from last Friday’s 22-0 win against Johnson.
The Panthers played a well-balanced game against the Atomsmashers and provided sufficient rest for the defense, which spent a lot of time on the field during the first two games of the season. With fresh legs, the Panther defense held Johnson to 70 yards passing and 68 yards rushing. The defense had 13 sacks, including three from Jeremy Caldwell-Fabergas that netted negative-20 yards. All together, the sacks cost the Atomsmashers 70 yards. The defense also forced Johnson to punt six times, compared with Liberty’s three punts in the game.
Fabergas and Raekwon McMillan had 15 total tackles apiece in the game. Darin Townsend had nine total tackles and two sacks for negative-12 yards. Taison Walls had seven total tackles and Cory Lazenby had six.
“We told the defense that Raekwon is a national recruit, but this is their opportunity to get some spotlight time and show what they can do, and those guys are stepping up right now,” Panthers coach Kirk Warner said.
Five-star prospect McMillan leads the defense with 57 total tackles in three games. Fabergas has 43, followed by Lazenby with 31, Walls with 26 and Townsend and Greg Roman with 20 apiece.
With the defense taking care of business, it was up to the offense to put points on the board. Quarterback JJ Grant was 2-of-4 passing for 55 yards and a touchdown, while Jordan Waters was 1-of 4 for 45 yards. With the Atomsmahers providing good pass coverage, the Panthers did the bulk of their offensive work on the ground, rushing for 119 yards. McMillan did a little work for the offense as well, rushing for 42 yards in 7 carries and pushing through the middle for a touchdown. Jordan Moody carried the ball five times for 38 yards, and Andre Haggray rushed for 14 yards on 11 carries.
McMillan’s efforts earned him Coastal Courier Player of the Week honors.
“Our offense knows their role,” Warner said. “We want to score between 21-28 points a game, and (against Johnson) we scored 22. We have to get first downs, and we have to play team ball, and we have to keep our defense fresh. As long as we can make first downs, we have a better opportunity to score points.”
Warner thinks the Panthers can hold off the Razorbacks if they have a repeat performance like they did last week, adding that Cross Creek is a little bit like Johnson High.
“They are very similar to Johnson, just a little bit more athletic,” Warner said. “They like to blitz, and they run the spread offense; nothing we haven’t seen so far.”